South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana has been praised by the New York Times for his “rich, glowing voice and elegant legato.” He makes a number of company debuts this season, most notably at Los Angeles Opera in the role of Queequeg in Moby Dick, followed by his first performances at The Glimmerglass Festival singing Gottardo in La gazza ladra, and at Palm Beach Opera as Zuniga in Carmen. He returns to Washington National Opera to sing the role of Stephen Kumalo in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars and performs as bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Mr. Ngqungwana made his European debut in the 2014-15 season singing Zuniga in a new production of Carmen for the Norwegian Opera. He sang Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Florentine Opera, and he made his debut at Washington National Opera singing Colline in a new production of La bohème. He returned to South Africa to sing a song concert and an aria concert for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, SA.
Musa Ngqungwana graduated with Honors in Performance and magna cum laude from the University of Cape Town. He received further professional training at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where he performed a wide variety of repertoire including the title role in Verdi’s Oberto, the Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Sancho Panza in Massenet’s Don Quichotte, Le Comte Des Grieux in Manon, and Samuel in Un ballo in maschera. He spent two summers at the Crested Butte Music Festival where he sang Lorenzo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, and Zuniga in Carmen. While studying at the University of Cape Town he sang he sang Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni and Don Profondo in Il viaggio a Reims.
Musa Ngqungwana is a 2013 Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is also the winner of the Die Zeit Prize at the 29th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna, the 2014 Cesare Santeremo/Dr Campbell Award from Opera Index, and the 2013 Lissner Charitable Fund Prize from the Licia Albanese- Puccini International Vocal Competition. He has written a memoir of his young life entitled Odyssey of an African Opera Singer: From Zwide Township to the World Stage, which can be purchased on Amazon.